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October 27, 2011

29

under God or the Republic?

by Andrea O'Connell

Last night during the discussion with Richard Dreyfuss, he asked the entire audience stand up.  Then he asked us to place our right hand on our heart.  Then we said the pledge of allegiance: 

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

And then he asked us to read it again, but follow him and he left out “under God.”

We intoned:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

The first Pledge above is what is used today.  The words “under God” were added by Congress, in 1954.

Mr. Dreyfuss pointed out that the pledge is not a prayer, though it sounds as such.  The pledge allows those of us who are loyal to this country, to articulate our allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands because we are one nation, we won’t be divided in that regard, and the core of America is to provide the due process of liberty and justice for all.

Adding “under God” says we all stand “under” God; but not all do.  There are other religions who do not believe in our God.  There are Agnostics and Atheists who do not place themselves in allegiance with God, but with the US and the Republic for which it stands.

In fact, the 1st Amendment provides for freedom of religion and the addition of “under God” is, in reality, unconstitutional.  The same holds true for “In God we Trust” in written all over our money.

That is my view.

Hah!  Politics AND religion in one post…. I’m just asking for trouble!

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 28 2011

    So, do you think Sharia Law will be implemented in the U.S.?

    Reply
    • Oct 28 2011

      Hi behindtheretoric,

      I don’t think any religion should be tied to secular laws – no exception. By the same token no one should EVER be persecuted for their belief or non belief in any religion. I Can’t think of a single religion that should be singled out as being better than than another one. Religion is not a bad thing until it becomes bigger than itself.I’m not following how Shriaplays into this topic.

      Reply
      • Oct 29 2011

        Where do you think the laws came from?

      • Nov 1 2011

        All western legal systems are based in Roman and Greek law. They did NOT come from the Ten Commandments. The first clue should be that only 3 (three!) out of 10 actually overlap with codes of law, the prohibitions against stealing, murder and perjury. Well, actually, what most people think are the Ten Commandments aren’t the Ten Commandments. The actual Ten Commandments have ridiculous prohibitions against boiling a kid in its mother’s milk and such. But who reads the Bible, eh?

      • Nov 1 2011

        Shamelessly Athiest, you don’t know Scriptures. What you cite were laws specific to the Jews and, more specific, to the Levite(priests) line of the Jews. It also had to do with the sacrificial system and the need for the priests to be pure before God. You do think yourself clever like all those wanting to bring up Old Testament laws as if they were ever meant for all of the human race. 🙄
        The Roman-Greek Laws are an off-shoot of the Commandments of God, not the other way around. Are you another U.S. Constitution illiterate? A history revisionist? Antything to keep from believing you need a Savior so God is a fairytale…and has no part in history.

        BTW, the Ten Commandments have been an oral tradition since before the Flood. Be careful weilding that Sword, the Word of God! You alone will be cut asunder for not knowing what you are talking about. Be cleverall you want for God will put the wisdom of the wise of this world to shame-its already as foolishness to Him now.

  2. Oct 28 2011

    Mercy! You are approaching the brink of controversy!

    Good post. I’m glad Dreyfuss is doing this.

    Reply
    • Oct 28 2011

      Hi Kathy

      LOL! I know i’m just asking for trouble…

      Thats okay. I have to admit i am a staunch believer of separation of church and state…too many die over religious extremism which is why I believe it should be held as a private or quiet idolatry.

      I’m a very bad girl lately! 🙂

      Reply
      • Oct 29 2011

        Too bad you don’t know what that seperation of church and state is.

        Here’s some help, if you are interested:
        http://wallofseparation.org/

        Somehow, I think you like your freedom “from” religion idea even though that wasn’t the intent of the founding fathers. Its too offensive to believe the true history of the First Amendment.

  3. Oct 28 2011

    Andrea, it coincidental you bring the Pledge up. In an adjoining county where I’m at, there is a huge controversy brewing at a school. Let’s forget about the “under God” part, the parents want the Pledge Of Allegiance removed all together. I guess because I’m old and it’s always been a part of my American heritage…..starts to make me a little angry. This is not any different than the Nativity scene that has been in place in front of a county court house here and was removed several years ago because eight people complained. The religious minorities via the US Constitution have toppled big religion. It’s difficult to see things that have been a constant or standard being taken away one by one. Growing up and seeing the displays year after year and saying the pledge every morning at school has/is becoming a thing of the past. It becomes confusing after the boost in patriotism from 911. How has it come to be that pledging one’s allegiance to a country is now a matter of convenience and mood?

    Reply
    • Oct 29 2011

      Yeah, there was the removal of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse in Alabama. Since when does the Ten Commandments promote religion? Those Ten have been around since before there was a Jewish nation or Christianity. Our laws are based on them, for crying out loud.

      Reply
    • Oct 29 2011

      Eight people complained…since when does the minority rule? That’s taking political correctness too far. Soon, if this keeps up, we will see a nation under sharia law. One Florida judge allowed for it already in his court.

      Reply
      • Nov 1 2011

        If something is unconstitutional, it is unconstitutional. How many people complain or who is in the majority has nothing whatsoever to do with it. When the idea that upholding and acting within the boundaries of the constitution is deemed “carrying political correctness too far”, I weep for the future.

      • Nov 1 2011

        If it were as you propose, Simply Atheist, we would have a chaotic system where everything goes. Majority is to rule in the governance of our nation. Start crying~

    • Oct 30 2011

      Hey DP. They want the entire pledge out? Well, I would think since they are in America, that wouldn’t fly unless they decide on a majority rules type of decision.

      You see, my contention is that “under God” just confuses the purpose of the pledge. The pledge is to the Republic, God has nothing to do with any of it. Plus we are not all under the influence of a God. There are plenty of us who believe that the idea of “God” is no different than the Gods of Greek mythology.

      i also grew up with those nativity scenes and everything lovely and Christmassy. I don’t really miss it though. I rebelled against religion very early in life, even though I was brought up to be Catholic, I never believed any of it. No one could convince me otherwise by the time I got to sixth or seventh grade.

      However, I then and now, I respect all religions and I am curious about them. I just don’t subscribe to any of them. If I had to pick a religion, I’d choose Judaism. I think the history of Jewish religion is fascinating, but complicated, too.

      Reply
    • Nov 1 2011

      “Growing up and seeing the displays year after year and saying the pledge every morning at school has/is becoming a thing of the past.”

      These sectarian displays shouldn’t have been there to begin with! One of the most important functions of the constitution is to protect minority rights from a majority using their numbers to violate them. The Pledge of Allegiance should be inclusinve of ALL who have the privalege to say it, but no atheist would feel a part of the country they are pledging allegiance to! Doesn’t anyone get it anymore? The phrase “under God” in the Pledge is a modern addition. So if we are appealing to tradition, you should have no problem with it being stricken. I want to say a pledge that I don’t have to lie to say.

      As I say below, the number of people who complain is irrelevant to whether an act is constitutional, and one of the most important functions a constitution serves is to protect the minority from being roughshod by the majority. Why do people think that just becuase they like including religion in what must be maintained as secular gives them carte blanche to defecate on the Constitution of the United States of America? That’s what makes ME mad…

      Reply
      • Nov 1 2011

        Who are you to deny my rights and the rights of the majority? Plus, if you knew American history you’d know that it is based on Christian principles and majority rule. You may want to be an Atheist but you have no business to lord it over those who believe in God as if you are superior in morality to do so. There is no Majority running roughshod over the Minority since there is representation drawn up to give voice to the Minority. If the Minority is constitutional and the Majority is not, the Minority takes the precedence.

  4. Oct 29 2011

    In fact, the 1st Amendment provides for freedom of religion and the addition of “under God” is, in reality, unconstitutional.

    No. it is not. You may say Freedom “of” Religion but you mean it in the Freedom “from” Religion way.
    http://notablequotesnsuch.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/your-right-to-freedom-of-religion/

    Reply
    • Oct 29 2011

      That being said, I do not pledge my allegience to this nation or flag or anything or anyone but God. I love my country but socialists want to drag it into the ground with their atheistic agenda. Our Founding Fathers were Christians and Jews and Agnostics who knew the value and good sense of being religious in holding political office and in leading our nation. Oh, where were these aggressive progressive liberals when the Presidents of the past made public prayers to God before the nation? Hmmmm. 😕

      BTW, Agnostics believe in the same God as Catholics, Christians and Jews but they believe He is a stand-offish or distant God.

      Reply
    • Oct 29 2011

      Hi Sherry, No, I meant freedom “of” religion as a human right as is laid out in the First Amendment.

      Separation of Church and State is not part of the Constitution, but is inherently understood by people who study the constitution. Thomas Jefferson and other’s hands made this as they wanted to ensure we never became a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Baptist nation upon order of a government. The in the 17th century, the churches fought for this as they did not want government interfering with their personal religiosity. The founders (James Madison in particular) agreed – there should be no official religion; and never will one religion be favored over another. It’s a civil policy, i guess you could say because it keeps religion and politics surrounded by what Thomas Jefferson referred to as a wall.

      Reply
      • Oct 29 2011

        Thomas Jefferson and other’s hands made this as they wanted to ensure we never became a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Baptist nation upon order of a government.

        Only half right.

      • Oct 29 2011

        Removing the mention of God in public is by those who want to say the First Amendment means Freedom “from” religion. The Founding Fathers never meant that our nation could not be a Christian faith based nation. We are not a faith neutral nation and never have been.

        You said:
        wanted to ensure we never became a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Baptist nation

        They never wanted to keep us from being a Christian nation! They based our nation on Judeo/Christian principles. Look at all of the documents that begin with, “In the year of our Lord”.

      • Oct 29 2011

        FYI~That “Lord” is Jesus Christ.

      • Oct 29 2011

        One more comment (out of fear I’m not clear) that will be a quote:

        Many of the Founding Fathers were afraid of exactly what is happening today. They were afraid of a centralized government having too much power over the people of the States. Many refused to sign the Constitution unless these Amendments, limiting the power of the federal government, were enacted. Any “separation” was there not to limit religious activities in public, but rather to limit the power of the federal government to interfere with the religious activities in the States.

        http://ringthebellsoffreedom.com/cheritagecontent.htm

        The First Amendment protected the Christian from the federal government.

      • Oct 30 2011

        I’m going to post some of Thomas Jefferson’s letters for you…. it should help us understand the intent of the First Amendment.

      • Nov 1 2011

        Freedom of religion NECESSARILY includes freedom from religion. I really doubt the Founding Fathers meant by the term to mean “you can belong to any religion just so long as you pick one regardless that you don’t like any of them”. Yeah. Right. The “wall of separation between church and state” that Jefferson wrote meant exactly that. Government is to be blind to religion, giving no privalege to any individual or group on the basis of belief. All these things which have crept into secular institutions like prayer in schools that are now being removed were there to begin with because of Christians taking advantage of their numbers to violate the constitution. This has become what is known as “Christian privalege”, and it is constitutionally (as well as morally) wrong.

      • Nov 1 2011

        Absolutely!! The current Christian fervor in government is extremely dangerous and immoral. I agree 100 percent & thank you for your insight!

        Sent from my iPhone

  5. Nov 1 2011

    America a Christian Nation

    She also tried the tried-and-false favorite of secularists by citing the Treaty of Tripoli. As secular revisionists usually do, she cited part of the treaty without providing the text around that language which provides the context:

    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…

    But an examination of the full text of Article 11 of the treaty

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    Why did the writers of the treaty say the United States of America is not founded on the Christian religion (when signer of the Declaration of Independence John Adams says himself that “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity”)? Because, as is evident from our prohibition of theocracy, America, unlike many of the European nations that had either state-run churches or church-run states, had no theological quarrel with Muslim nations–which were virtually all theocratic. As the last sentence in Article 11 of the treaty states, since America is not a theocracy, we cannot have a state-to-state theological disagreement with these Muslim nations on the basis of religious opinions.

    Reply
    • Nov 1 2011

      Also~

      Interestingly, Barton also mentioned a treaty with the Indians made by Thomas Jefferson (misunderstood patron saint of atheists and secularists everywhere) in which Jefferson agreed to provide money for Christian churches and clergy for the Indians. Odd behavior for someone who supposedly believed the Christian faith of our nation should be divorced from our government.

      That’s because, even though Jefferson was one of the least religious of the founders, he did not believe that at all. Jefferson attended church in the U.S. Capitol building and commissioned the Marine Corps band to play worship music for the services. Indeed, one need only look around the Capitol Building and across our nation’s capital to find a plethora of evidence of our nation’s Christian heritage.

      Was America founded by Christians on Christian principles? Undeniably (unless you a rabid secularist who is uninterested in the truth, as experience has taught me some people are).

      Reply
  6. Nov 2 2011

    Okay, Sherry. You accuse me of being a ‘history revisionist’ yet cite David Barton?!?!?!? You discredit yourself completely. I understand now why it is YOU that is so ignorant of the function of a constitution, let alone how the US constitution works. One of the primary goals of the Founding Fathers was to actually prevent the very thing you subscribe to – the violation of the rights of minorities in favor of the majority. If that’s what you think, then I can safely label you an idiot. Yes. An IDIOT. I’m not calling you names, it’s not an ad hominem, but a statement of fact. You gave me all the evidence I needed to justify that claim yourself.

    Only those who have drunk the Kool Aid could possibly think David Barton has anything of interest to say. Amusing, sure. Factual? No, the man is a LIAR. That’s not an ad hominem, Sherry. Again, that’s a statement of fact! First, he’s not a historian. If you want something factual to read on the founding of the union, Barton is the last person you should use as a source. Try Robert Middlekauf or Gordon Wood. You, know- real historians.

    That in itself doesn’t make Barton a liar. However, the following does. Ever read these quotes of the Founding Fathers that Barton cites?

    It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! ~ Patrick Henry

    It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. ~ George Washington

    Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian. ~ Holy Trinity v. U.S.

    We have staked the whole future of American civilization, nor upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves … according to the Ten Commandments of God. ~ James Madison

    These are just a few representative “quotes” that Barton uses to further his agenda in rewriting history to make America a Christian nation, rather than the reality that it is a secular nation full of Christians. The first two quotes are ‘questionable’ in authenticity. That is, no one can find in any of the writings of Patrick Henry or George Washington that they wrote these two. The second two, however, are out-and-out FALSE. Barton made them up and attempted to pass them off as authentic! This makes Barton a liar. QED.

    Let me tell you what would happen to anyone in academia that attempted to do this. Anyone falsifying their sources would be summarily fired and their reputation permanently ruined. What happened to Barton when he was caught? Nothing. That tells me that those that have drunk that Kool Aid are in no way interested in the truth. The are interested in confirming their biases. In other words, they are intellectual dishonest. In faking these quotations Barton is trying to further his agenda to do what you want to do, to piss all over the Constitution, to create a Christian theocracy. The problem with his theory that even though they didn’t actually say these things, that was their intent. Well, if that were true, he wouldn’t have to fake the quotes to make it appear so. They would be all over what they wrote. He’s an ass.

    Here’s a quote that isn’t false, Sherry:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    This is from the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796 (emphasis mine).

    Let’s move on to your unsubstantiated (and therefor rejected) assertion that the “Roman-Greek Laws are an off-shoot of the Commandments of God” .

    BTW, the Ten Commandments have been an oral tradition since before the Flood. Be careful weilding that Sword, the Word of God! You alone will be cut asunder for not knowing what you are talking about. Be cleverall you want for God will put the wisdom of the wise of this world to shame-its already as foolishness to Him now.

    Let’s set aside the fact that ‘the Flood’ never happened. Floods happen all the time and major floods would appear to people that traveled little to be worldwide floods. We even know the source of this myth, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Israelites picked it up and incorporated it into their own mythology during their exile in Babylon. The Ten Commandments (either/or) do not predate Moses. The problem with your assertion that these are God’s laws handed down to mankind is that there are codes of law that are far more sophisticated than the simple ones outlined in the OT long before Moses is thought to have lived (if indeed he is not a complete fiction to begin with). The Laws of Urukagina, Code of Ur-Nammu, the Lipit-Ishtar Code, and others predate Moses by centuries. And let’s face it. We hardly need a deity to tell us why the three relevant commandments (prohibitions against murder, theft and perjury) are a good thing. And where are the prohibitions against rape, slavery and misogyny? Those are conspicuously missing. In fact, in no place in the Bible (Old or New Testament) does it even consider slavery to be a moral question, the victim of rape is forced to marry her assailant and thus getting raped for the rest of her life, and promotes the inequality of women that we are still trying to eradicate. Nor is it at all possible to draw a line between anything in the Bible and the rights and freedoms guaranteed (and that you want to take away) in the US constitution!

    Speaking of rights, what rights exactly are being taken away from you by ending enforced prayer in public schools or removal of the Ten Commandments from courthouses (and no respectable legal historian would ever connect the two)? The right to abuse government institutions to further promote your religion? There is no such right, Sherry. That’s an undeserved privilege that Christians made for themselves by violating the constitution, not a right.

    Oh, and save the threatening prosthelytization for someone that cares. All I hear is “God is going to get you! Really he is! I’m sure of it!” The threat has no teeth. The only thing it does is make you feel falsely superior. Go home. You’ve got no game. Sod off.

    Here endeth the lesson. And I mean endeth. I don’t communicate with idiots any more than I have to.

    Reply

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